This Is What a Black Barbie Looks Like
h/t to Womanist Musings.
Black mothers take heed. If your little one wants a Barbie this year, this Barbie-type doll may bridge fantasy and reality. Because these babes look like black women, and Latina women, and not simply a painted-up version of whiteness.
Loanne Hizo Ostlie of Tabloach Productions has been retooling these dolls and selling them on eBay. This dolls represent the various hair textures that Black women have. They also feature more Afrocentric styles. A child given this doll to play with, will not only learn to see herself as beautiful but understand that she has the right to claim the label of woman.
Mattel could have chosen to do this on its own but it had no interest in really creating a positive image of Black womanhood. Simply painting a White doll dark and using dark coloured hair, does not make it African American. We are not White people with a really dark tan. We have our own unique features and our own standards of beauty. Ostlie’s work is clearly ingenious and is an example of the ways in which Black women have always had to strive to ensure that positive images become part of our social discourse.
I’m looking at Ostlie, and she looks like a war baby. Japanese and black–that is, biracial–just like a friend of mine from high school. Imagine not finding dolls that really did look just like you while growing up. And dollmaking is a high art in Japan.
Check this out as an alternative to the Barbie Borg. If anything, it could become a new standard. And collectable.
Me, I collect these babies by this woman, who takes them from her photography, but that’s another story.